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Kentucky attorney general calls governor's travel restrictions unconstitutional

Kentucky attorney general calls governor's travel restrictions unconstitutional
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Kentucky's Republican attorney general called Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) order banning out-of-state travel unconstitutional in a motion filed in federal court on Monday.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron was originally included as a defendant in a woman’s lawsuit challenging the travel restrictions but filed a motion to side with the plaintiffs, according to court records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader. Beshear ordered the bans against traveling in and out of the state in late March to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

Allison Alessandro, who has since left the lawsuit, sued Beshear and Cameron. The lawsuit still has two other plaintiffs, who backed Cameron's decision to join their side.

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“Here, the Governor’s travel ban impermissibly violates the fundamental right of every Kentucky citizen to interstate travel. This being the attorney general’s position, he should be realigned as a plaintiff,” Cameron’s attorneys wrote, according to the Herald-Leader. 

When the initial lawsuit was filed, Beshear said at a press conference, “I’m not worried about it, and we will win it.”

Cameron released a statement saying Kentucky residents "have a fundamental and constitutional right to freely travel from one state to another."

"If the Governor is going to ask Kentuckians to surrender their constitutional right to freely travel as part of the fight against COVID-19, such a restriction must be narrowly tailored," he said. "The sweeping scope of his travel ban, if left unchecked, creates a dangerous precedent.”

The governor has said he wants to put politics aside during the coronavirus crisis, but his veto of a bill that would have allowed Cameron to ban abortions during the pandemic sparked disagreement between Beshear and the attorney general.

Beshear addressed the motion during his Tuesday press briefing, saying an early ruling indicated that "everything we have done is legal."

"Folks I'm not trying to set rules that are difficult and I'm not trying to set rules that are controversial. I'm just trying to set rules that will save people's lives," he said.

Updated on April 29 at 12:13 p.m.